Dartmouth Food Festival, 21-23 October
Autumn sees a bumper crop of food festivals across the UK, in Devizes, Abergavenny, Aldeburgh and Melton Mowbray, among others. The Dartmouth Food Festival, which takes place on the waterfront, boasts chefs and speakers including Matt Tebbutt, Professor Tim Spector and … er, really. And once you’ve waded through the many stalls, tasting events and workshops, you’re in a good location for the area’s other edible attractions, including South Devon Chilli Farm, with its exhibition tunnel and shop. , the Devon Manna Wood-fired Cooking School and Riverford Field Kitchen (lunch from £ 29.50) as well as the Sandridge Barton Vineyard. Notable restaurants include Mitch Tonks’s Seahorse (main course £ 30) and, along the coast, Hope Cove House (main course £ 16) and Jane Baxter’s Wild Artichokes in Kingsbridge (banquet menu £ 45). Or you could just grab takeaway fish and chips (£ 9.95) from Tonks’s Rockfish and sit on the harbor wall. Chef Brightham House B&B (double from £ 150) is located right along the coast in Salcombe.
The Isle of Thanet, Kent
Well known as a summer destination for Londoners, thanks to the high-speed train from St Pancras, Thanet – a piece of chalk that was joined with the rest of Kent just a few centuries ago – is fast becoming an all-round food hotspot. ‘year. Breakfast with superb sourdough or pastries at one of the Staple Stores bakeries or Forts Coffee in Margate; lunch in Barletta at the Turner Contemporary gallery in Margate (mains around £ 20); and finish with drinks and small plates (around £ 8.50) at the Sargasso on the harbor arm, or have dinner at Angela’s fish restaurant (main course around £ 21) around the corner.
For a more traditional British seaside experience, nearby Broadstairs offers its version of fish and chips (battered cod cheeks for £ 7.50 and a cone of fries from £ 3.50) at Flotsam and Jetsam, which can be followed by a journey into the happily not reconstructed Glamor of the 1950s by Gelato Morelli.
Elsewhere in Kent, the Brogdale National Fruit Collection is worth a visit: it offers walks in orchards and short courses on things like beekeeping, as well as Simpsons Vineyard in Barham and Whitstable for oysters. There are also two popular gastropubs within easy reach: the Sportsman at Seasalter (tasting menu £ 70) and the Fordwich Arms (main course £ 33). At Margate’s brand new Fort Road Hotel (double rooms from £ 190), the head chef is Daisy Cecil, formerly the River Cafe. Yes, that.
The self-styled ancient capital of Wales has acquired a reputation as a bit of a hippy hotspot, in part thanks to the nearby Center for Alternative Technology, a project for sustainable living, with vegetable gardens and a café serving its own produce. Machynlleth itself is a thriving market town (the market, which dates back to 1292, is held on Wednesdays) and although the butcher closed last year, the whole food shop is still going strong.
Most avid visitors, however, will be here for Ynyshir, Wales’s first two-Michelin-starred restaurant, in a dense forest a 10-minute drive (tasting menu only, £ 350). If you can’t get a reservation, you might be luckier at Chef Gareth Ward’s Legless Fach bar in the garden, which serves small plates (around £ 14) – keeps several tables open for walks, and dogs and children are welcome.
Otherwise, head for half an hour along the coast to the only Michelin-starred SY23 in Aberystwyth, which showcases local produce cooked over an open fire (tasting menu, £ 120). More low-key options can be found at Hennighan’s Top Shop chippie in Machynlleth, which this year celebrates its 40th birthday and former winner of Wales’ best fish and chip shop (haddock and chips, £ 7), or l ‘Aberdyfi Ice Cream Company, which also has a shop in Aberystwyth.
Gin aficionados should not miss the award-winning Dyfi (pronounced “Dovey”) distillery, which uses botanicals from the only UNESCO-designated biosphere reserve in Wales. Those who can’t get there in person can sample his work at Wynnstay in Machynlleth, a delightful and quirky inn with good food, an 11-page wine list and doubles from £ 105 B&B. Bird watchers and romantics might prefer to curl up on a cozy glamping boat with stunning views of the Dyfi Estuary at Smugglers Cove shipyard near Aberdyfi (rooms from £ 60).
Porridge manufacture championship, PramHighlands, 8 October
Originally designed to attract visitors to this small Highland village after the summer season, the Golden Spurtle World Porridge Making Championship now attracts oat-loving competitors from around the world. The hopeful will battle in the town hall in two categories: traditional and “specialty” (think piña colada porridge). In between, there are whiskey tastings, followed by a celebratory ceilidh.
If that whets your appetite, book a Speyside Distillery tour in nearby Grantown-on-Spey, also home to KJ’s Bothy Bakery, or head to Cairngorm Brewery in Aviemore. Gardeners or would-be smallholders may be more interested in a Lynbreck Croft tour to admire its fruits and vegetables and meet the Highland cows, pigs and rare breed chickens.
The pretty tin-roofed Mole Catcher’s Cottage sleeps four, on the banks of the river in Carrbridge (from £ 135 per night). Dinner can be ordered from Heavy Metal Munchies – don’t miss its haggis pierogi – or from Alvie Forest Food (main course around £ 9), a street food kitchen using locally grown and foraged ingredients.
Malton, North Yorkshire
Yorkshire isn’t shy about its many attractions but other than the puddings, food is rarely seen in the countryside and cricket which is a shame, as this is also extremely good.
Malton, once described by the late chef Antonio Carluccio as the county’s gastronomic capital, is a great base for exploring the hills and moors. There’s a cooking school (The Cook’s Place), a rewarding number of independent shops, from award-winning pastry chef Florian Poirot to traditional butcher Derek Fox, enough to keep most people busy for a few hours, especially with a session at the Brass. Castle brewery tap house.
This fall, it’s worth trying to book a spot on one of the Yorkshire Arboretum mushroom hunting tours at Castle Howard Estate, a 15-minute drive from town, albeit in good weather, seaside fish and chips from Trenchers of Whitby (£ 9.95), winner of the UK’s Fish and Chips of the Year 2019 award, might be more tempting.
Sue Nelson’s Yorkshire Food Finder tours showcase the lesser-known delights of the region. Big local names include the Black Swan at Oldstead (lunch from £ 135 per person) and the Star Inn at Harome (which only reopens for weekend lunch in October after a fire last year). The Talbot in Malton (double from £ 149.50 B&B) is a refurbished coaching inn which now also boasts the outstanding Bluebird Bakery.